SFJAZZ Gala Honors Grammy-Winning Great at Annual Benefit

On May 9 music lovers gathered for the 2024 SFJAZZ Gala, which saw 700 people turn out for a concert program packed with jazz luminaries from across the country. The evening began with an elegant dinner for SFJAZZ supporters, followed by a concert and presentation of the SFJAZZ Lifetime Achievement Award to honoree Patti Austin. The concert included performances from Terence Blanchard, Ledisi, PJ Morton, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Siedah Garrett and SFJAZZ Collective, to name just some of the renowned artists on hand. The appearance by composer and trumpet player Blanchard was a particular treat for SFJAZZ boosters, as the seven-time Grammy winner is also the organization’s current executive artistic director.

The evening’s highlight was the Lifetime Achievement presentation to Grammy Award-winning vocalist Austin, who over the course of her storied career has collaborated with the likes of Quincy Jones, James Brown, Joe Cocker and Diana Ross. Since her first appearance as a four-year-old prodigy on the Apollo Theatre stage, Ms. Austin has gone from triumph to triumph, truly earning her place among the greats of American music. 

After the concert, revelers adjourned to the Gala After-Party featuring New Orleans-based Dumpstaphunk, DJ Soul Sister and John Michael Rouchell & Friends. A listening Lounge After-Party Pre-Party with Jane Monheit at SF Conservatory of Music featured performances from current members and alumni of the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars. This year’s Gala benefit raised $1.7 million to support SFJAZZ’s artistic and educational programs.